On December 3rd, over in the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, Canada, Piranha Games is hosting a day long BattleTech and Mechwarrior themed convention.
A variety of events and fun stuff is planned. Many guests from various community members and companies are planning on attending, such as Jordan Weisman and Randall Bills or online media personalities from Twitch and such.
In the best traditions of the Solaris VII Games, one of the headline events is the first World Championship of MechWarrior Online. Don’t you want to establish dominance and win that trophy?
Hey look, everybody knows that we don’t always get a chance to flip some dice and push around metal the way it was meant to be in real life. I’m playing online with stuff like MegaMek. So, getting the chance to play live with real enthusiasts, purchase stuff from live vendors, get some autographs, and rub noses and talk shop with with all of you folks is a great opportunity.
So what about you? Are you heading over? Why not check out all of the information they have to see if you are interested in getting your ‘Mech on, Vancouver style!
I, Dædalus; my poor boy, Icarus; Thy father, Minos, that denied our course; The sun, that sear’d the wings of my sweet boy, Thy brother Edward, and thyself the sea, Whose envious gulf did swallow up his life. Ah! kill me with thy weapon, not with words. – William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 3, Act 5, Scene 6
Okay, I get it. The Technical Readout: 3145 series – with each major faction receiving its own book – was fairly massive in the sheer amount of content produced. We received a relatively huge amount of new ‘Mechs, battle armors, vehicles of every kind, DropShips, Aerospace fighters and even ProtoMechs. Heck, we even got a new class of unit: the QuadVee. Vehicles transforming into four legged ‘Mechs. For those people who thought the “beloved” Land Air ‘Mech wasn’t bastardized enough. Or possibly for those people who thought that BattleTech needed to be more like The Transformers. One of those. So in a sense, it is understandable that Catalyst Games would release a significant sampling of choice units from the books of the 3145 series. It is totally understandable, in fact.
“For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings; How some have been deposed; some slain in war, Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed; Some poison’d by their wives: some sleeping kill’d; All murder’d: for within the hollow crown” – William Shakespeare, The Life and Death of Richard the Second, Act 3, Scene 2
How do you tell the story about the death of a legend?
Those of you who have read my articles may be aware that my introduction into BattleTech was the start of the Clan Invasion era, beginning with the novel Lethal Heritage. Michael Stackpole introduced us to a generation of larger-than-life characters. Victor Steiner-Davion. Phelan Kell. Shin Yodama and Hohiro Kurita. And, of course, Kai Allard-Liao; the greatest MechWarrior of his time and era, with the self-confidence of a mollusk threatened by a salt-shaker. The confidence part changed, of course, over the course of the novels. Kai, sadly, lost his precedence and became a secondary character to Victor, but perhaps part of that was the fact that the character evolved to the point where further exploration would have been superfluous, at least from a development standpoint. Nevertheless, Kai Allard-Liao was the best of the best. (In fact, the flavor text in this product firmly and definitively establishes this.) I certainly still found him interesting and relevant. (Heck, I even wrote a Sarna Wiki article on his ex-girlfriend.)
Last week my order of Technical Readout: 315 arrived from BattleCorps. I’ve since gotten a chance to read through the book twice, and there are several designs that tweak my interest. What are the early impressions from the book?
Another GenCon has come and gone, and now is the time when those of us who attended and participated are recovering from and reflecting on our personal and shared experiences of one of the most exciting weekends any gamer could hope to have.
This GenCon was my third in total, over a period of the last four years, and each time I have felt like it was impossible for me to somehow enjoy this time more than the last time. I believe that it is an amazing thing that, so far, each new GenCon experience has surpassed the previous ones. I think this is in part due to a continuous learning process that all repeat convention goers should, if they pay attention and mean to improve their future experiences, go through.
I left home near Nashville, TN at 7am Thursday morning, and a little over five hours later, I arrived in downtown Indianapolis. After finding a parking garage only a short walk from the convention center, I proceeded to Will Call to retrieve my pass. The wait was not long, and the process was smooth. I would be surprised at this point if Will Call was a difficult process at GenCon, but I feel that I need to include my assessment in order to provide an accurate picture of the convention from my perspective.
I have here chronicled my GenCon 2015 experiences in two parts. Part 1 details my BattleTech centric experiences, and Part 2 covers my general GenCon experience and my thoughts on how to have a better convention experience in the future.
The Republic of the Sphere is somewhat unique in that there was no equivalent whatsoever in the “pre Jihad” era. We had years to become accustomed to the Successor States, ComStar, the Clans, the major mercenary units and the Periphery States. Even the Word of Blake itself was a faction that slowly built up to be the ultimate big bad. They all developed their own identities, and they all had their fans among the community. Heck, I’m sure somewhere there were players who decided Clan Fire Mandrill was their cup of tea. It’s all good. The Republic of the Sphere, however, is a different animal. We got a glimpse of it when MechWarrior: Age of Destruction was an active system, and then it was effectively defunct until the “current” Classic BattleTech line moved into the “post Jihad” era. Even then, after the 3085 releases (including a Technical Readout and Field Manual) we received few updates on the Republic itself, due to the Fortress Republic. We heard a good bit about how bad things were in the former Republic, but virtually nothing from behind the wall. Having never read the Dark Age novels, I don’t have much of a connection to this faction.
Announced today, Catalyst Game Labs is issuing a reprint of the successful Introductory Box Set to meet demand, and should be back on game store shelves by late summer of 2014.
Also announced is a line of Lance Packs, using the same improved plastic miniatures found in the Introductory Box Set. Each set will be retailing at $19.99, and although no specific release date has been given it is expected to hit the streets late this year. The Assault Lance Pack and the Pursuit Lance Packs are the first ones to be going out the warehouse doors, each one also packed in with eight Alpha Strike cards as an added bonus.
I’d like to open with another personal statement on my philosophy regarding ‘Mechs : I like tripped out units. There it is. I like BattleMech designs that take advantage of every critical spot and half-ton of weight. To me, the ideal ‘Mech incorporates the best of the newest technologies with the proven equipment of yesteryear. At the same time, I roll my eyes at “proof of” or “test bed” machines that throw new technologies onto a chassis without much thought on how to make them work together efficiently. Continue reading →
First, I want to extend my apologies to the staff and readers for being away for so long. A few months ago I took a new job in a new city. (A rather large city, in fact.) It has taken me this long to get settled and to reach a mindset where I felt I could do a good job with these articles. I know the products I’m reviewing came out months ago. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to continue with what I started for as long as Nic allows.
This week in product reviews, we take a look at Technical Readout: 3145 Free Worlds League, the fifth in Catalyst Game Labs Technical Readout: 3145 faction series.
First, though, a disclaimer: Everyone has had their own experiences playing BattleTech, and everyone develops different tastes, preferences and opinions regarding what kinds of ‘Mechs, weapons, equipment, etc. that they prefer, usually based on those same experiences. Several times, I have felt a certain way about a ‘Mech by just reviewing their stats in a Technical Readout, only to radically change that view when I actually see one in play. This will probably happen again, and I hope it does. Otherwise, I’d probably get bored of the game. The point is, these reviews are simply written based on my own opinions. That’s all they are. I’m happy to debate various points with people, and I’d love to hear about your own playing experiences as well. (That’s what comment boxes are for.) But please, do not be offended if I seem to slam your favorite ‘Mech, faction, weapon or hovercraft. I assure you, it is never personal.